Tauranga’s Rottweiler Saga Continues: Chopper’s Fate Hangs in Balance After Vet Attack
As a Rottweiler named Chopper stands at the precipice of a life-altering decision, the Tauranga community remains on tenterhooks
Chopper, a Rottweiler hailing from Tauranga, recently found himself thrust into the spotlight following a biting incident involving a local vet, Dr. Liza Schneider.
The biting incident has now evolved into a high-profile court case, with Chopper’s owner, Helen Fraser, awaiting sentencing for owning a dog causing injury. The presiding judge, David Cameron, has reserved his decision, allowing himself “sufficient time” to process all the relevant material.
The Incident: A Vet’s Unexpected Encounter
In October 2021, Chopper bit Dr. Schneider during an appointment for neutering consultation, resulting in a fractured ulna, nerve and muscle damage, four puncture wounds, and subsequent surgery.
Tauranga District Court now weighs on the balance of Chopper’s life and Fraser’s potential sentence: a maximum of three years imprisonment or a $20,000 fine. The case raises the mandatory order of dog euthanization, except in exceptional circumstances.
The Legal Rollercoaster
Chopper’s story has experienced several legal twists and turns. An initial dismissal of charges against Fraser was followed by a successful appeal from Tauranga City Council, which argued that the focus should be on Fraser’s legal responsibility to control her dog.
The appeal judge, Justice Timothy Brewer, upheld the council’s claim, stating Fraser had failed to prove that there were literally no practical steps she could have taken to avert the attack.
The Repercussions: Personal, Professional, and Financial
Dr. Schneider’s injuries not only inflicted physical pain but also created a significant strain on her holistic veterinary practice, preventing her from performing surgeries and other procedures.
Her business, Holistic Vets, reportedly lost around $60,000 in revenue, with the total incident-related costs surpassing $100,000. Schneider also alleged harassment and defamation on social media, mainly stemming from posts on the ‘Team Chopper’ Facebook page and Fraser’s personal social accounts.
The Defence: A Call for Discharge Without Conviction
Fraser’s lawyer, Lynne Mathieson, argued for a discharge without conviction, claiming the implications of the conviction would outweigh the gravity of the offense. Mathieson contended Fraser demonstrated remorse for the incident, explaining the financial advisor turned retail worker’s struggle with anxiety, stress, and daily pound visits for Chopper.
Awaiting the Verdict
The Tauranga community now holds its collective breath as the court adjourns until August 21, when the fate of Chopper, Helen Fraser, and the far-reaching implications for pet owners and professionals alike will finally be decided.